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Letters to the Editor:

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of talking to some of the Santa Monica City Councilmembers regarding the ficus trees about to be removed. In particular, I had a nice talk with Councilman Ken Genser. I respect Councilman Genser for taking the time to discuss this matter with me and for expressing his views on the issue, I really do. However, I can’t help thinking his analogy was off. When I told him I thought it was fiscally irresponsible for the city to spend more than $1/2 million on this project, he likened it to an offer from my grandmother for $20K for a new car. Since the money was a grant from the transportation department they would either have to spend the money as it was granted or return it. I told him I didn’t think this was a good analogy since I already have a car and this city already has trees on 2nd and 4th Streets. He explained that the analogy applied to our differences in opinions on the matter. He would take the money and get a nicer car. So what he’s saying is Santa Monica would be more beautiful if these ficus were removed and replaced with younger trees. And he knows I disagree. It is already beautiful. This is true, however his analogy falters in that there is another option. I would think about all my other relatives who could benefit from the money. As Government officials, the City Council has the right to not only reject the money but to propose how it could be better spent. Particularly in a time when our state has proposed huge budget cuts due to billions of dollars of debt. Why is it only take it or give it back? Why is it not, how can we better use this money? I would love to hear an answer from our elected officials on this issue.

Kathleen Hylen

ELS Language Centers Center Director

Santa Monica

* * * *

I have a few thoughts to share about Steve Stajich’s article, “Reading, Writing, and Ownership.”

Right off the bat, I find it curious that Stajich began an article on how children should be educated with an example of how he dressed up as Santa to help convince little ones that a fictional character exists.

But I think he can be forgiven for not seeing the irony in his own example.

What he cannot be so easily forgiven for is his apparent lumping of all homeschoolers into the “nutty Christian” mold. My wife and I are atheists and we homeschool our son because he has social and educational needs that can’t be easily met by a public school. We have friends who homeschool because their child has a peanut allergy so severe that he’d have to go to the hospital if a classmate brought a PB&J sandwich for lunch. I’d say there’s nothing that hints of “dressing up the cat” – as Stajich puts it – in these reasons for homeschooling.

Continuing Stajich’s thought process further, can I assume that he is against religious private schools? What about religious education for children who go to public schools? Perhaps he thinks that public education will help a child think critically about what is being taught at home, but I don’t see a lot of public schools criticizing faith-based morality or participation in ceremonies where the devout magically recreate the body of their savior and then eat it.

I suggest that Stajich should look into the issue of homeschooling further. He’ll find that there are plenty of homeschoolers who aren’t right-wing religious nuts. There’s even a magazine – Secular Homeschooling – just for us.

Oh, and merry Christmas.

Dominick Cancilla

Santa Monica

Editor’s Note:

For more comments on Steve Stajich’s article, go to smmirror.com/MainPages/ DisplayArticleDetails.asp?eid=7425.

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